September 12, 2012

Article

Cyberbullying issue has enterprise implications

By Rob Nunes – VP of Marketing

At the recent Video Platform Deployment in Higher Education Panel at the Streaming Media East conference, industry pundits were faced with a somewhat unexpected question. An audience member interested in K-12 education asked what can be done to avoid cyberbullying when deploying video, Streaming Media reported. While this question is clearly focused on the education sector, it has important implications in the enterprise, where user-created content is often an important part operations.

According to the news source, the participants on the panel explained that there is little that can be done to stop students from grabbing video off the web, editing it and using it for cyberbullying purposes. However, there are some technological measures that can make it much more difficult for individuals to grab streaming video off of the web.

Joe Deck, CTO for Our Lady of the Lake University, explained that there are technological roadblocks that can be put in place to make cyberbullying more difficult, but in the end, nothing can be done to make it impossible, Streaming Media reported.

“You’re not going to be able to stop [cyberbullying] completely,” Deck told audiences at the event, according to the news source. “What we do is we stream it, so we actually store the files on a Wowza server, which they can’t access, or a Windows Media server. For those kinds of things, they have to go through [our video platform], which streams it down. They could grab it and do something with it, but it’s not easy for them to do that. I don’t know how many students could do that at [the K-12] level.”

In the enterprise, cyberbullying can be an issue. Furthermore, you also have to consider the executive nightmare of playful prank video edits that feature business leaders being mocked by employees through edited video of holiday parties and similar events. But organizations stand to gain a lot from enabling employee-created content within a video program, as the practice can enable employee engagement plans. To avoid cyberbullying or other inappropriate uses of enterprise video programs, companies have to take strategic measures to reduce risk. There are a few major ways to accomplish this:

Well-designed policies

Organizations that create effective policies to ensure professional behavior within user-created videos can establish a solid footing to build upon. The key to creating good policies is to keep things simple and accessible, but still provide a solid regulatory foundation to prevent workers from posting unprofessional content. If the guidelines are too complex, employees may ignore them. If they are overly basic, loopholes may exist that some workers take advantage of. Finding balance is key when developing policies.

Treat workers like adults

Archaic management policies that treat employees like children that need constant oversight are still prominent in some corporate circles, and that kind of attitude will not facilitate appropriate video use. In fact, it may push workers to rebel. It is key to remember that most employees with an organization are mature professionals that understand what is appropriate for work and what isn’t. Do not insult your workforce by treating them like children when establishing a video program that supports user-generated content, it will create more problems than it solves.

Watch for disgruntled employees

With the right policies and attitudes in place, most workers will be just fine complying to video best practices. But you still have to look out for disgruntled employees who may not care if they get fired, but just want to do some damage to a co-worker or the company as a whole. Monitoring content to identify videos created by such employees is vital to prevent problems.

Whether you are dealing with cyberbullying at school or inappropriate video in the workplace, there are few things that can be done to prevent problems at a technical level. But you can use solid policies, attitudes and monitoring to protect workers when managing an enterprise video plan.

-Rob